I have a confession to make…I’m obsessed with ghee!
I just want to put it on everything! I’ve been finding dishes to make just so I can use it or spread it on top (I’ve had a lot of toast lately).
If you’ve never had ghee, it’s basically a tastier, healthier version of butter. Who would’ve thought such a thing could exist?! Not only that, but it’s been labeled a superfood and referred to as “liquid gold.”
You can find it in health food stores, ethnic markets, and many larger supermarkets, but it can get pretty pricey. The other day, I saw a small 8 oz jar of ghee at Whole Foods for nearly $10!
I’m sorry, but I’m not paying that much for fancy butter! Honestly, I don’t even use butter very often. I usually opt for olive oil or coconut oil, so I had no problem going without.
What I didn’t know is how easy and inexpensive it is to make your own ghee at home. Once I learned this, I had no reason not to try it for myself.
If you haven’t had ghee yet, I highly recommend it! Not only is it delicious, but it’s full of unexpected health benefits.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about ghee, including how to make your own.
What is Ghee?
Contrary to popular belief, ghee is not a new health fad. It’s been used for thousands of years for both cooking and medicinal purposes in India and other parts of Southeast Asia, particularly in Ayurvedic practices.
Ghee is a form of clarified butter, which is butter that has been heated to remove water, milk solids (lactose and casein), and impurities. How ghee differs from clarified butter is that it simmers for longer, caramelizing the milk solids. This brings out the distinct nutty flavor of ghee and leaves it with a higher smoke point.
Because the milk solids are removed ghee is shelf-stable (does not need to be refrigerated), and safe for those with lactose intolerances.
Ghee, particularly when made from grass-fed butter, has a host of benefits that make it a great addition to your pantry. In fact, some health practitioners recommend eating ghee daily to benefit from its many healthy properties.
8 Benefits of Ghee
1. High smoke point
Ghee has a high smoke point making it an ideal cooking oil. The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil begins to burn. When you heat an oil past its smoke point phytonutrients break down rapidly and harmful free radicals begin to form.
Ghee has a smoke point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit compared to butter’s 350 degrees. It’s safe to use when cooking at high temperatures. And it’s a great alternative to highly processed and genetically modified oils that are usually used for high heat cooking.
2. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants
Because ghee is more concentrated than butter, it’s more nutrient dense. Ghee is rich in vitamins A, E, and K, all of which support health and immunity in countless ways, from vision and skin to bone, heart and even gut health. Ghee also contains healthy cholesterol, omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids which aid in brain functioning and mood.
3. Rich, aromatic flavor
Ghee isn’t just good for you, it also tastes amazing! Stronger and more fragrant than butter, many describe it as having a nutty, caramelized, butterscotch-like flavor. It’s even been described as “butter on crack.” To me it tastes like an earthy brown-butter. However you want to describe it…it’s delicious! It enhances the flavor of anything you add it to and because it’s so rich a little goes a long way.
4. Lactose- and casein-free
If you are dairy-sensitive, ghee is a great option because it is both lactose and casein free. These proteins are often the ones responsible for unpleasant allergic reactions to dairy like stomach cramping, inflammation, bloating, and gas. During the clarifying process, the milk solids that contain these dairy proteins are completely removed, leaving you with pure butterfat.
5. Supports gut health
Ghee is an excellent source of butyrate (butyric acid), a short-chain fatty acid that aids in digestive health. Butyric acid helps repair and rebuild the lining of the digestive tract, preventing symptoms of IBS, leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other gut-related conditions. Butyric acid also reduces inflammation and balances the gut microbiome by feeding healthy gut bacteria.
6. Fights cancer
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid found in ghee acts as an antioxidant and has a long list of health benefits. Some of those include reducing inflammation and preventing tumor formation. It’s important to note that higher concentrations of CLA are found in grass-fed dairy, so look for grass-fed ghee or butter to maximize health outcomes. Ghee’s high smoke point also means consuming less free radicals, known to increase the risk of cancer.
7. Aids in weight loss
Ghee has been shown to aid in weight loss, lower body fat, and speed up metabolism. In addition to inhibiting cancer cells formation, CLA reduces fat cells. Taken in small amounts, ghee can help you burn fat and reach your ideal weight.
8. Topical uses
Ghee can also be used topically to promote health and beauty. Apply it to skin and lips as a moisturizer. Use it as a deep conditioner to add moisture and shine to hair. Ghee can also be used to heal and soothe burns and other rashes.
How to Make Ghee
Ghee is easy and inexpensive to make at home. I recently made a batch and it came out perfectly. It just takes a little patience. You want to heat your butter on a low temperature long enough for the milk solids to separate and caramelize, but not too long that it burns. Keep a close eye on it throughout the process.
I also recommend using grass-fed butter. This is will give you the highest concentration of nutrients, so you’ll get the most health benefits and it will taste better.
- 1 lb of (grass-fed) butter
- Fine strainer (cheesecloth, nut milk bag, coffee filter, mesh strainer, etc.)
- Glass Jar
- Heat butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat until melted.
- Once butter is completely melted, reduce heat to medium-low and allow butter to simmer for 20-30 min. You will hear a lot of cracking and popping which is the sound of the water evaporating from the butter. A white foam, which is milk solids will rise to the top. Ultimately the butter will have been separated into 3 layers: foam on top, clarified butter, and browned, toasted milk solids at the bottom. Watch carefully as you do not want your ghee to burn.
- Once the butter is golden in color and you have your three layers, remove your saucepan from the heat.
- Skim off the foam layer with a spoon and discard.
- Slowly pour the remaining liquid through your fine strainer (for best results, use a mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter) and discard the remaining brown bits.
- Let it cool, seal, and store your ghee at room temperature for up to a month or longer in the refrigerator
- Enjoy! Use it in the same way you would use butter or other cooking oils.
If you’re not a DIY kind of person, you can easily find ghee in stores or online. It will just be a little more costly. Make sure you’re getting your ghee from a reputable source that uses grass-fed butter and without added preservatives or cheaper processed oils. These things compromise the quality and reduces the health benefits.
Ghee is quickly becoming my healthy fat of choice over coconut oil and olive oil due to its unique taste and incredible health benefits.